Skip to main content

tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  April 26, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT

3:00 am
republicans, the birthers and their ilk like franklin graham and those who think like mike bloomberg who defend and cheer the american ideal. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell starts right now. china's economy is growing so fast that the international monetary fund has now named the date when it will surpass the united states. 2016. so which political party really wants to be in charge when that happens? >> ending medicare so millionaires can get another tax break? what were you thinking? >> i hope all of you had a wonderful easter. >> a spring awakening for voters as they discover republican plans to abolish medicare to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. >> it's hardly a spring break. >> if you're going to raise any taxes at all, it's got to be on the rich. >> but republicans answer to a higher power.
3:01 am
>> what would jesus take? >> no, not jesus. >> reverend norquist. >> the most powerful man in america who does not sleep in the white house. >> now, grover norquist is facing a challenge. >> republican tom coburn said this about tax reform. >> if taxes end up going up in some capacity, would you not be in violation of that? >> which pledge is more important, david? is the pledge to uphold your oath to the constitution of the united states or a pledge from a special interest group. >> grover norquist is accusing republican senator of oklahoma, tom coburn, of violating the pledge. >> willing to throw grover norquist under the bus. >> reporter: grover norquist joins us. >> it really does seem now everything is on the table. >> republicans who refuse to raise taxes continue to scare bankers and investors with threats to not raise the debt ceiling. >> i will vote no on raising the debt ceiling. >> dire warnings. >> absolutely unbelievable. >> disastrous for the economy. >> the alternative would be catastrophic for our economy.
3:02 am
>> and donald trump's birther talk is making him friends and enemies. >> the president was born here. the republicans are making a terrible mistake in making this a big issue. >> robert de niro, he did call you out. "i won't mention names, but certain people in the news -- go get the facts before you start saying things aboupeople." >> well, he's not the brightest bulb on the planet. >> you talking to me. >> reverend franklin graham -- >> the more you listen to him, the more you think, maybe the guy's right. >> one of the best interviews i've seen. >> kind of the way you watch a car wreck or something. >> good evening from new york. two members of a bipartisan group of six senators working to negotiate a deficit reduction solution of their own appeared on sunday's "meet the press." one of them was senator tom coburn. here is the republican senator's response when nbc's david gregory asked whether the so-called gang of six plan would include tax increases.
3:03 am
>> well, we're not talking about it. i think if you go back and look at the commission's report, what we were talking about is getting significant dynamic effects by taking away tax credits, lowering the tax rate, and having an economic increase that will actually increase the revenues to the federal government. we're not talking about raising tax rates at all. so if there's a net effect of tax revenue, that would be fine with me. i experienced that during reagan's period in 1986. >> that may not have sounded like a particularly bold response to you, but for a republican senator, nothing braver has been said on television in this century. senator coburn just said that he's willing to violate a pledge he submitted in 2004 to a man i've called the most powerful man in america who does not sleep in the white house. >> meet grover norquist, the president of americans for tax reform, whose mission statement
3:04 am
is, "the government's power to control one's life derives from its power to tax. we believe that that power should be minimized." there are some republicans who have thought that, perhaps, perhaps, maybe, we should have raised taxes to pay for the iraq and afghanistan wars, or at least partially pay for them, but they would not dare say so, because that would violate a written pledge they had made to grover norquist. who presents every republican running for the house, the senate, or the white house with a pledge to sign, saying that he or she will never, ever support raising taxes in any way. including by cutting loopholes out of the tax code that might then force an individual or corporation to pay a higher tax bill. something closer to their actual rate that they're supposed to pay. >> david gregory pointed out
3:05 am
that if senator coburn supports a gang of six plan that raises net tax revenue, he would violate grover norquist's pledge. senator coburn is obviously ready for that fight. >> well, i think, which pledge is most important, david? is the pledge to uphold your oath to the constitution of the united states or a pledge from a special interest group, who claims to speak for all of american conservatives when, in fact, they really don't. >> joining me now, the founder and president of americans for tax reform, grover norquist. grover, thanks for joining me tonight. >> hey, lawrence, good to be with you. >> i just wanted to get it out there, exactly what republicans are up against in this tax dialogue. i know you and i won't have any areas of agreement here, there isn't much for us to debate. i'm for higher taxes and much, much higher brackets at the tax end. the one tax bill i worked on in the senate which you opposed and i helped get passed by one vote
3:06 am
was the biggest tax increase in your history, your worst nightmare. so we couldn't be more opposite on this. but i just wanted to get it out there that the bind that republicans are in, i don't think the public understands outside of washington politics how you have worked this subject for decades. you actually have signatures on documents, on a written pledge from senator coburn and other republican senators, virtually all of them, and most republicans in the house, if not all of them, saying that they will never vote for any increase in taxation, which you define as including the elimination of any loopholes, which would then increase an individual or a corporation's net tax. is that correct? >> no. two things. and coburn misspeaks, unfortunately. the pledge that coburn has, and a copy of it right with me here is a pledge to the people of oklahoma, and to the american people. says so right in black and white. the senator should know that.
3:07 am
it's not a commitment to me, personally, and it's not a commitment to americans for tax reform. it is a commitment, in writing, to the citizens of oklahoma and to the american people. >> but grover, i don't mean to interrupt, but just to clarify that point, you wrote the pledge, and that's the way it's written for everyone one of them, that they pledge to their constituents, but you guys wrote it. >> the pledge says no net tax increase, and we ask people to make that commitment. you said republicans, but we ask everybody to make the commitment. there are a handful of democrats over time at the federal level, at the national level, who's taken the pledge. ben nelson of nebraska has taken the pledge. at the state level, where we have about 1,300 pledge-takers, i don't know the breakdown, but there are quite a few democrats. >> grover, what is the count that you have in the senate? how many pledge-takers do you have in the senate? >> 41 senators, 236 members of the u.s. house, so a majority in the house, and a strong showing in the senate. neither body is going to be passing a tax increase in the
3:08 am
next two years. and after the next presidential and senate elections, when we have a different senate, and one hopes that a pro-taxpayer president, we'll be able to get significant spending and tax relief. >> and what happens politically to someone who violates their pledge? you can mobilize against them in a republican primary, can't you? >> well, i think if you'd ask george herbert walker bush how his second term went, that was the first president who took the pledge and then broke it two years later and couldn't, after a fairly successful president, george herbert walker bush managed the collapse of the soviet union, he got iraq out of kuwait without getting stuck, occupying the place for a decade, and yet when he raised taxes, he'd broken his commitment to the american people and was not able to get re-elected. so the pledges between candidates and the people and the american people have said several times in elections,
3:09 am
they're not particularly happy to have their taxes raised. they want less spending. >> and grover, this is the single obsession concern of you and your organization. i just want to make it clear to the viewers that you don't -- i don't believe you have any interest in what happens on the spending side of government. meaning, if i were to say to you, oh, come on, grover, if we do this, we're not going to be able to fund medicare the way we would like to. that just isn't your concern. you just want taxes cut and cut and cut and cut? >> no. to the contrary. only if you take tax increases off the table do you ever get any spending restraint. this is not just in washington. 13 governors have signed the pledge, never to raise taxes. that's why states where governors have said, we're not raising taxes. new jersey, they're getting reforms because taxes are off the table. florida, texas, pennsylvania, ohio, michigan, wisconsin, all states where they're not raising taxes, and because of that, they're actually getting reforms.
3:10 am
why are we looking at reforms as dramatic as paul ryan in the house of representatives, overwhelming republican vote for paul ryan's $6 trillion spending reform, $6 trillion less in debt and spending than president obama wants to spend. why? because taxes are off the table, tax increases, but ryan is putting forward a very impressive spending reform, taking the rates from 35%, the international high for businesses, to 25%, the european average. that's not radical, but it is a big change in the right direction. so, step one, don't raise taxes. step two, force the politicians to make decisions, to govern, to actually decide that some spending programs are worthwhile and some aren't. >> grover, your group is funded according to "boston globe" report. you keep it private information how it's funded, but "the globe" got its hand on some of your funding, big tobacco companies, big corporate interests, big
3:11 am
moneyed interests, obviously, backing your group. it's not the only political group that's backed that way, including some on the other side. but, obviously, everything you're doing is in service no reducing your supporters' tax bills in whatever way is possible. but you see polls now in the american public with a vast majority saying, absolutely, push up that top tax bracket. absolutely push it up. you have republicans, a majority, 54% saying, push up that top tax bract. and the reason i wanted to have you on the show tonight is i wanted to make it very clear to the viewer, this is why republicans, even who represent districts who want that top tax bracket pushed up, this is why republicans are absolutely locked in voting against any possible tax entreat. which presidential candidates have signed your pledge? >> well, in the past, almost all of the republicans starting with george herbert walker bush.
3:12 am
in this cycle, people are just starting to run. so we haven't asked people until they formally run. i expect all of the republican candidates for president will sign the pledge. but let me back up. we have 100,000 donors to americans for tax reform. our position is no net tax increases on the overall tax burden. we do not support or oppose any particularly tax credit. one of the arguments that i've had with senator coburn is he wants to get rid of the ethanol tax credit, which is a left-wing effort to force people to use higher cost energy that eats up a lot of corn. it's a very stupid incentive or disincentive. we ought to get rid of it. we were opposed to putting it in the first place. but we don't want to use that as a backdoor hidden tax increase, and there'll be an effort in the senate, along with the effort to eliminate that bill, to compensate with lower tax rates overall. so that it's revenue neutral. we should get rid of all annoying tax credits and reduce rates.
3:13 am
>> well, i completely agree with you on your description of the ethanol tax credit, but the idea that, you know, getting rid of it isn't good enough, and if you get rid of it, you then have to -- >> i don't want to raise taxes to pay for obama's big government. >> i get it. >> don't pretend it's about ethanol, it's about your wanting to pay for obama's big government! >> no, it's about two things, on my end, it is about ethanol. i agree with you completely, let's get rid of it. but i'm happy to say get rid of it period and let the treasury collect the additional revenue. >> why?! they'd just spend it on too much government. >> spend it on health care for people who need it. grover, we're out of time. grover norquist, americans for tax freedom -- or for tax reform, sorry. thanks very much for joining me tonight, grover. >> thank you. coming up, rush limbaugh asks, what would jesus take from the rich? jesus answers rush in tonight's "rewrite." and the people's alternative
3:14 am
to the ryan budget plan and the obama budget plan. why does the best plan for reducing the deficit not have a chance in congress? ezra klein takes a look at the people's budget, next.
3:15 am
3:16 am
the haters who want to believe barack obama is not an american citizen pick up a new friend, the reverend franklin graham thinks donald trump might be right. i'll ask franklin graham about that coming up. and what's the best plan to reduce the deficit? the ryan plan or the obama plan? how about the people's plan? why isn't anybody paying attention to the progressive caucus plan?
3:17 am
itchy, irritated skin... not only does cortaid 12-hour advanced cream relieve itch fast, but a clinical study shows its unique itch shield technology lasts longer than the leading cream. for 12 hour protection. for long lasting protection try cortaid.
3:18 am
you've seen the paul ryan abolish medicare and cut taxes republican budget and you've heard the president's description of his counterproposal. so which one do you like? if your answer is neither, you might want to consider the people's budget, introduced by the congressional progressive caucus, a group of 76 democrats. joining me now for a guided tour of the people's budget is ezra klein, columnist for "the washington post." thanks for joining me, ezra. >> happy to serve. >> ezra, i know rachel has done some coverage of the people's budget, but it has otherwise within been largely ignored. take us through the highlights of the people's budget and what its selling points are. >> sure. the people's budget is looking at how you would balance the budget if you were going to do it largely through tax increases and mostly through taxes on the wealthy. it lets most of the bush cuts expire. it creates new millionaire tax
3:19 am
brackets, it taxes capital gains as normal income, taxed dividend income higher, it raises a bunch of corporate taxes, it creates a tax on financial transactions. it cuts 1.8 trillion for the defense budget and invests $1.4 trillion in new job, science initiatives, et cetera. i think this is an important part of it, it opens up a space for new investment, which just about none of the budgets currently on the table do. >> and do they do anything about energy taxation in this plan? >> no, they don't. >> any gasoline tax, any environmental-based taxes? >> no. and when i began to talk to tax experts about it, they said a couple of things. they said, one, there's not enough tax reform in the plan. they're stacking new taxes on top of one another. and in that way, they enhance a couple of the tax systems' worst tendencies right now. the capital gains tax, the way it works wouldn't work. this budget does a lot of very
3:20 am
brave and smart things, but what it needs to do is more tax reform and more creative taxation. so taxing energy is something that would work a lot better. a lot of people brought up a value-added tax, which would work a lot better. a lot of them liked the people's budget, but they didn't think they had gone quite far enough in terms of new thinking on taxes. >> this is the only budget that takes a serious look at defense spending. something that says, okay, wait a minute, what are we really going to need to do going forward? >> let me give a couple other people credit here. there are five budgets on the table. of them, the obama and ryan budgets are the two worst, on a lot of measures, but defense spending being one of them. the fiscal commission, simpson bowles did twice as many defense cuts as obama and raised another $450 million in tax. the odd thing about the obama budget is to the right of the fiscal commission document, which was a compromise among tom coburn and dick durbin and others. and i don't think people have really absorbed that. then there's another budget that also went after defense spending.
3:21 am
when you get to the people who aren't worry about their passing their budgets tomorrow, there's a broad agreement that the defense sector is bloated and we need very significant cuts in it. but when you get to obama and when you get to ryan, they really sort of whiffed on it. they really stood down from that particular fight. >> now, and the real defense experts will tell you, we do have to change the nature of our defense posture, what happens to save us money, even if that isn't our intent, when we look at what the threats are going forward. ezra klein of "the washington post," thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> rush limbaugh thinks the question, what would jesus do is too liberal. he thinks it should be, what would jesus take, as in take from the rich. jesus explains it all to rush in tonight's "rewrite." and another potential candidate took the exit ramp. haley barbour will not be running for president, which leaves even more room on the stage for donald trump and his
3:22 am
newest fan, the reverend franklin graham, who joins me, next.
3:23 am
3:24 am
3:25 am
still to come this hour, what happens if you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and then you lie? scooter libby found out and paid a price. most people don't. the author of the book on perjury, "tangled webs," joins me. and the liars about barack obama's birth and his religion get surprising support from the reverend franklin graham.
3:26 am
he joins me, next.
3:27 am
3:28 am
3:29 am
while republican mississippi governor haley barbour announced in a written statement today that he will not be candidate for president next year, nbc's biggest embarrassment, donald trump, did something unprecedented in the history of network television last night. he actually used his nbc entertainment platform to openly solicit support for his campaign for president. >> everybody's saying i should run for president. let me ask you a question. meat loaf, should i run for president? >> absolutely. >> meat loaf, should i run for president? what you just saw was a gross violation of network standards and practices as we have known them throughout most of the history of television. it put an explicit nbc endorsement on a trump campaign for president, except it didn't. because nbc executives know that donald trump's presidential
3:30 am
posturing is completely fraudulent. they know that on may 16th they are going to announce that donald trump will be returning for another season in nbc's employ, pretending to fire people on tv. so don't worry. nbc has not fallen to the point where it is endorsing a presidential campaign of one of their performers who constantly spews lies and hatred of barack obama. nbc would never do that. as to why nbc would participate in the fraud of donald trump pretending to think about running for president, we should all remember, most of what nbc presents in its prime-time scheduling is fiction, both in comedy and drama, and virtually everything about donald trump is fiction. but trump got some surprising support yesterday from a man who
3:31 am
the media normally presents as a bastion of integrity. >> donald trump, when i first saw that he was getting in, i thought, well, this has got to be a joke. but the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe the guy's right. >> so he might be your candidate of choice? >> sure, yeah. sure. >> joining me now, possible trump endorse we are, r, the reverend franklin graham. thank you for joining us tonight, reverend. >> lawrence, it's good to be with you. and first, i want people to know that i am a minister of the gospel of jesus christ. i want people everywhere to know not about donald trump, but to know an god's son who died on a cross and rose again. i want you to know that and every viewer to know that god loves them. >> well, you got very, very close to endorsing a presidential candidate yesterday on nbc. you've never endorsed a presidential candidate before. what made you come so close for donald trump? >> well, lawrence, i answer reporters' questions like i'm
3:32 am
answering your questions and maybe you could give me some advice. >> i would advise you -- i would advise you, if a reporter asks you, who are you going to support for president, you say, i don't want discuss that. that's how to do it. >> well, first of all, if he's vetted and he's a nomination for the party, i certainly would be interested in him. there's a long way to go and i haven't endorsed him. and i'm not going to endorse any candidate. but i find he's got some interesting things to say, and you have to say to yourself, sometimes, you know, maybe a guy like this is right for our country. we need somebody with a lot of business experience to get us out of the mess that the republicans and the democrats have got us into. so, yes, we need some help, but more importantly, we need god's help in this whole process. we need god to give us a leader who can take this nation and put it back on the road -- a leader who will, i believe, who will take this nation back to the road of integrity and prosperity and we need somebody, like a donald trump. i don't know if he's the man, but somebody like that with his
3:33 am
experience. >> have you ever voted for a democrat for president? >> no, i've never voted for a democrat for president. i have voted here in north carolina on the state level for democrats. we've got some wonderful people in this state. and maybe a good democrat will come down the road, who can lead this nation out of the problems we're in. i certainly would vote for him or her if they had that ability to lead us once again to a nation of prosperity. >> okay, but in a lifetime of voting, there's never been a democrat you voted for. i want to go to something you said on abc yesterday that has attracted all the attention in this news cycle and why you're here tonight. let's listen to what you said on abc yesterday. >> well, the president, i know, has some issues to deal with here. he can solve this whole birth certificate issue pretty quickly. i don't -- i was born in a hospital in nashville, north carolina, and i know that my records are there.
3:34 am
you can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when i was born. i don't know why he can't produce that. so i'm not -- i don't know, but it's an issue that looks like he could answer pretty quickly. as it relates to muslim, there are many people that do wonder where he really stands on that. now, he has told me that he is a christian. but the debate comes, what is a christian? for him, going to church means he's a christian. for me, the definition of a christian is whether we have given our life to christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our lord and savior. that's the definition of a christian. >> so, reverend graham, the president telling you he's a christian isn't good enough for you. i suppose anyone telling you they're a christian is not good enough for you because of the definition that you just laid out there. because you can't look into the person's heart. >> no, that's not true -- >> you don't accept the president as a christian based
3:35 am
on what you said yesterday on abc? >> absolutely, i accept that -- but, no, he has said that to me personally. >> but you don't accept that? >> i believe that -- well, we've had some conversations with him on some things. it's not that i don't believe him, only god knows those things. i'm not his judge, god is his judge. >> so only god knows who the christians are and saying you're a christian is not good enough for you, right? >> no, you're trying to put words in my mouth, lawrence. that's not correct. i'm just saying, nobody knows a man's heart except god. he knows your heart, he knows my heart, and i'm not going to judge whether he's a christian or not a christian. >> right. so when you look out at your congregation, you're preaching, you see hundreds of people out there, sometimes thousands in big stadiums, you don't know, because you don't know what's in their heart, you don't know if they're thinking about, maybe becoming a christian, maybe not. so as far as you know, the only person you know is a christian, is you, because you know what's in your heart. you don't know if anyone else is a christian?
3:36 am
>> only god knows a person's heart. but when i get up and preach, i preach the gospel that god so loved the world that he gave his own son, that whosoever believette in him shouldn't perish, but have everlasting life. that's what i do. there's power in that message and god takes that message and drives entitle a human heart supernaturally. >> reverend graham, you said uncontested on abc yesterday, what we just heard you say. for me, the definition of a christian is whether we have given our life to christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our lord and savior. >> sure. >> i want you to listen what you know is jesus christ's definition of a christian. jesus christ said, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. have you given up everything you have to be a disciple of christ? >> i have given my life to christ when i was 22 years old.
3:37 am
i got on my knees one night and i just asked god to forgive me of my sins. that night, i told god that i believed jesus christ was his son, that he died for me on calvary's cross and that god raised him. and when i gave christ my life, i meant it. i said, you can take my life, spend it, however you want to spend me. my life is yours. and it's the greatest decision i ever made. and lawrence, he can do the same for you or anybody who's watching this television. god loves us. and he wants us to be safe from hell. and that's -- listen. there is a hell. and there's a punishment for those that reject god and his salvation, jesus christ. and for me as a minister, the most important thing is not about who's going to be president or who is trying to run for president, the most important thing is that as a person, ready to stand before almighty god, are they ready to have that time face-to-face with and answer to him, because god's going to ask you, what did you do about my son? i sent my son to take your sins. did you accept him or reject him?
3:38 am
>> reverend franklin graham, we are out of time. you have once again convinced me that you are a christian, just as barack obama has convinced me that he is a christian. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. god bless you. on his show today, rush limbaugh asked the question, what would jesus take as in, take from the rich? jesus answers rush in his own words in tonight's "rewrite." medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars...
3:39 am
out of your own pocket. these are the only medicare supplement insurance plans... exclusively endorsed by aarp. when you call now, you'll get this free information kit... with all you need to enroll. put their trust in aarp medicare supplement insurance. plus you'll get this free guide to understanding medicare. the prices are competitive. i can keep my own doctor. and i don't need a referral to see a specialist. call now to get a free information kit. plus you'll get this free guide to understanding medicare. and the advantages don't end there. choose from a range of medicare supplement plans... that are all competitively priced. we have a plan for almost everyone, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. with all medicare supplement plans, there are virtually no claim forms to fill out. plus you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare. and best of all, these plans are... the only medicare supplement plans endorsed by aarp. when they told me these plans were endorsed by aarp...
3:40 am
i had only one thing to say... sign me up. call the number on your screen now... and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan. you'll get this free information kit... and guide to understanding medicare, to help you choose the plan that's right for you. as with all medicare supplement plans, you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare, get help paying for what medicare doesn't... and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now. and today rush limbaugh lied about jesus christ. rush and jesus are in tonight's "rewrite." and later, scooby libby was prosecuted to lying for officials about what he knew about valerie plame. jane stewart, author of a new book about why powerful people commit perjury will join me. ugh, my feet are killin' me.
3:41 am
well, we're here to get you custom orthotic inserts. we can't afford that. yes, we can. dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic center. foot-care scientists are behind it. ( man ) you have flat feet... no way... way. orthotic 440 is recommended.
3:42 am
it recommends the custom-fit orthotic insert that's best for your feet. you'll get all-day relief. for your tired, achy feet. and you could save a couple hundred bucks. sweet. this is great. dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic center. thank you... who are you talking to ? for locations, see time for tonight's "rewrite." i must begin by asking your forbearance for a rather long rush limbaugh sound bite from his radio show today. it's not surprising that on this easter monday, rush went to work with religion on his mind, and of course, his customary rage against the left. this combination provoked in the religiously uneducated radio entertainer, a wild display of biblical ignorance. >> a favorite tactic of the left, you know, when it suits them, they'll talk about jesus christ. when they can convince or try to
3:43 am
convince everybody jesus christ was the patron saint of liberalism, then they will herald jesus christ. that's what he's good for, as far as the left is concerned. yeah, he's the first liberal, the great socialist, jesus christ. he knew, he knew who to punish. jesus christ knew it was the rich who were the targets. jesus christ stood up for the downtrodden. the question is not, what would jesus do. the question is not, what would jesus cut. the question is, what would jesus take? taxes and budget cuts. what would jesus do? what would jesus take. that's the question people need to ask to put this in perspective. of course, the answer is nothing. >> i, for one, that believe asking the question, what would jesus do is the way into a more thoughtful discussion than rush's obsession with the question, " what would jesus
3:44 am
take?" but the new testament does have an answer to rush's question, what would jesus take, and it's not one rush is going to like. and since he obviously has no working command of the bible, it will surely shock him, because he will be hearing it now for the first time. to the question of, what would jesus take, the answer is, everything. not 35%, not 39.6%, 100%. in the new testament's gospel of st. mark, a man approaches jesus and asks him, what shall i do to inherit eternal life, and jesus said to him, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. now, i suppose you could interpret that as go and sell all of your possessions and give some of the proceeds to the poor. but it would be equally reasonable to say, go and sell all of your possessions and give all of your proceeds to the
3:45 am
poor. i lean toward the give all of your proceeds to the poor interpretation, but i don't do so with absolute certainty, nor would i use that line as christ-based argument for a particular tax bracket. but it seems very clear that jesus would be cool with a 39.6% tax bracket for people making over $250,000. and how was jesus' advice taken by the man who asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life? well, it was as if jesus was talking to rush. as the story continues in the gospel according to st. mark, but at these words, he was saddened and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. and jesus looking around said to his disciples, how hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of god. it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
3:46 am
kingdom of god. that's not the only clue we have in the new testament about what would jesus take. jesus also said, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. that means you, rush. and that means everything. give up everything. those are the words of jesus christ. give up everything. you can be a radio talk show host and you can make your $50 million a year, but you cannot do that and be a disciple of christ if you keep all of your $50 million a year. while jesus may not have specified specific tax brackets, he was the first recorded advocate of a progressive income tax. jesus actually said, i tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
3:47 am
they all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything, all she had to live on. what would jesus take? obviously, he would take from each according to their ability to pay. that is the clear christian philosophical basis of a progressive income tax. 10% on low incomes, 35% on high incomes. is the current structure. and if it were up to me, much, much higher percentages on even higher incomes. now, in holy books, as long as the bible, it is common to find conflicting citations. a quote here to make one point and then a quote there to make the opposite point. now, rush, i know you didn't bother to do any bible reading before your silly "what would jesus take" outburst, and i now invite you and your staff to take as long as you want to try to find a passage anywhere of jesus sympathizing with rich
3:48 am
people for having paid too much taxes. or for having been too generous. or for having been forced by anyone, by the state, by cesar, by anyone, forced to be too generous. take your time. i'm here every night. i'm ready to respond whenever you come up with anything, a word, anything, that you think jesus said that in any way suggests there is such a thing as an overburdened rich person, overburdened by societal obligation, overburdened by obligation to neighbor, the very neighbor that jesus instructs the rich person to love. when the son of man shall come in his glory, all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. and before him shall be gathered all nations and he shall
3:49 am
separate them, one from another, as a shepherd dividette his sheeps from the goats. then shall the king said unto them on his right-hand, come, you blessed of my that you are, father, for i was hungry and you gave me meat, i was thirsty and you gave me drink. i was a stranger and you took me in and clothed me. i was sick and you visited me. i was in prison and you came unto me. then shall the righteous answer him saying, lord, when did we see you hungry and fed you or thirsty and gave you drink? when did we see you a stranger and take you in or naked and clothed you? and when did we see you sick or in prison and came unto you? and king shall answer and say unto them, verily, i said unto you, inasmuch as you have done it, unto one of the least of h my brethren, you have done it unto me. then shall he say also, unto
3:50 am
them, on the left hand, depart from me you cursed one into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for i was hungry and you gave me no meat, i was thirsty and you gave me no drink. i was a stranger and you did not take me in naked and did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. then shall they also answer him, saying, lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister unto you? then shall he answer them saying, verily, i say unto you? inas much as you did not do it for one of the at least of these, you did not do it for me. and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. rush, jesus christ's
3:51 am
instructions to you could not be more specific. you can follow christ's path to righteousness or you can follow the path of the damned. the choice is yours. as you sit back in full recline on your gulfstream on the way to golf tournaments and you ponder which path to you take, you might consider doing jesus christ the favor of never again lying about what he said. >> taxes and budget cuts, what would jesus do? no, what would jesus take? that's the question people need to ask to put this into perspective. of course, the answer is nothing! >> rush, you can lie to your audience about what president obama has said. they love it when you do that. and you can lie to your audience about things i've said which you've done a few times. but you are really risking your $50 million a year if you continue to lie about what jesus christ said. most of your audience knows the
3:52 am
bible much, much better than you do, rush. and i guarantee you, that is the one line they will not let you cross. nor will i. an everyday moment can turn romantic anytime. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications, and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache, or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away.
3:53 am
ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to
3:54 am
3:55 am
when vice president dick cheney's chief of staff, louis scooter libby was found guilty of obstruction in 2007, each of the convictions came down to the simple fact that libby had lied. he lied to a grand jury and fbi investigators about what he knew regarding valerie plame, the cia agent outed after her husband debunked the bush administration's claim concerning saddam hussein and weapons of mass destruction. new details about the case and those who could have easily ended up alongside libby facing prosecution are among the stories told by my guest in his new book. joining me now, james stewart, the author of "tangled webs,"
3:56 am
how false statements are undermining america, from martha stewart to bernie madoff. good to have you. >> nice to be here. >> how did scooter libby get caught up in that investigation and why was he the only one caught lying? surely he was not the only one who at some point lied? >> he wasn't. and one of the extraordinary things was, if he hadn't lied, he never would have been charged. because he was not a source of the notorious column by bob novak who outed valerie plame as a cia agent. the actual sources were karl rove in the white house and richard armitage in the state department. but scooter libby had outed her to other reporters. he was doing his best to get the story out. he told first, bob woodward, and then judy miller at "the new york times." they didn't write the story, but he then lied, saying he had never leaked her idea. >> was there something instinct chul going on? you look at the libby case, and you think, this is a trained lawyer. it's his first time as a
3:57 am
criminal subject of an investigation. you would think that he would get his steps exactly right, know exactly what he could say and what he couldn't say, and not risk the most dangerous thing in any one of those investigations, which is the perjury count. >> absolutely. i mean, it's really incredible. and many people have asked me, like, who is the best liar in your book? i think the real question is, who is the worst? and scooter libby may very well be the worst. i think everyone knows, if you're going to lie, try to stick close to the facts and deviate when you have to. he created a whole parallel universe. he is contradicted by no less than nine other officials in the bush administration. even his own assistant. the story did not hole up at all. he repeated the story over and over again, the grand jury, to fbi agents, even when he was warned his story had already been contradicted by his main other corroborating person, who was tim russert of nbc. >> now, what about the rove element? here is someone who was brought back to the grand jury multiple times, which is a fairly rare occurrence, as federal
3:58 am
prosecutors will tell us, that this is unusual, but it seemed like patrick fitzgerald was trying to be as careful as he possibly could and not going anywhere near an indictment that might not be an absolute lock on a guilty. >> well, patrick fitzgerald was criticized for being overzealous. republicans piled on him, said he was on partisan witch hunt, he should never have indicted libby. i have a lot of respect for his judgment in this case and the work he did was tremendous, but if anything, he could be criticized, i think for being too lenient. he came within a hairs breath of getting indicted by rove. he did not seek the indictment. but he did do something i reveal in the book which i think is pretty extraordinary. he wrote a letter to president bush, summarizing the evidence against rove, i believe, with the assumption that bush himself would take immediate steps to remove rove from responsibility and he never did that. >> so this was at the completion of the investigation that he sent that letter to the
3:59 am
president? >> yes, after the decision was made not to go to the grand jury to seek an indictment of rove, fitzgerald did do a letter to the president, as i said, bringing to attention this -- the very serious -- >> he was sending a letter to a president who had said, i would get rid of anybody who lied about this. >> absolutely. he said, he would get rid of anyone who leaked and he would get rid of anyone who lied about it. when given that rove both leaked and lied, and by the way, the most extraordinary thing is that the evidence strongly suggests that rove lied to president bush. bush asked him, point black, were you a source for the novak column. and he said, well, i spoke to novak, but the subject of valerie plame never came up. that's not what he told a grand jury. and the fbi agents and fitzgerald actually considered whether lying to the president itself is a crime under section 1001. i could go on and on about this. >> james stewart, the author of "tangled we said "tangled webs," thanks so much for joining us. the "the rachel maddow show"


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on